Canoe graphic

A B A C K Kayak graphic
Action for Better Access for Canoes and Kayaks
on  Rivers and Canals in England and Wales.

HOME PAGE Links to Canoeing Organisations Organisations Supporting ABACK Sign Similar Access Petitions

Argument for Better Access

 Only 4% of rivers in England and Wales have a right of navigation for canoeists, and this region is considered to be the worst area in the world for canoe access. All of our neighboring countries in the European Union enjoy much better access.

Scotland has always had better access than the rest of the UK, and this was improved still further following the passing of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. By contrast, access to waterways was specifically omitted from the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2002, so the situation in England and Wales remains unchanged. 

Canoeists are the waterways equivalent of cyclists. Cyclists have access to an enormous network of bridleways that they can use free-of-charge. As an example, Cornwall has 376 miles of bridleways, but has no rights of navigation at all for canoeists on  non-tidal water. Cyclists can also use cycle routes and roads – all funded from the public purse at no direct cost to themselves. So why should canoeists be treated differently? 

Canoes are a form of sustainable transport, and can be used by almost all age groups. They also provide a mechanism for exercise, sport, recreation, and for the study of wildlife. 

The ABACK campaign asks for legislation to give canoeists and all other users of un-powered craft the right to navigate all rivers and canals in England and Wales without restriction or the payment of charges. 

ABACK endorses only responsible canoeing, so  does not promote or encourage any unrestricted canoeing that would cause any excessive disturbance to anglers. It therefore does not ask that this legislation should include the right to conduct organised canoe sporting events, or allow canoe touring in large groups. Such events should be a matter for negotiation with the riparian owners.

Webmaster : Roger L. Revell  Page last updated : 08 January 2007 Click to Email webmaster => Email icon